June to September is traditionally considered the best time to visit Botswana: the weather is drier, temperatures cooler and animals are usually easier to spot in the sparse undergrowth. But if you want to experience this beautiful nation in an entirely different light, consider going in the green season (or wet season) between October and March instead.
We sat down with our Southern Africa expert, Anja Füssel, who traveled there recently, to discover why this season is one of Botswana’s best-kept travel secrets.
1Enjoy great wildlife sightings
During Botswana’s dry season, animals trek for miles to find watering holes, but the green season is significantly more abundant. Heavy rains and dramatic storms infuse life into the landscape, particularly in arid locations like the Kalahari Salt Pans. With more greenery and water to go around, animals roam around the wilderness in herds. You might witness the great migration of zebras, as huge herds of these majestic creatures journey from north to south to graze on fresh ground.
Many animals birth their young during the green season too. You can expect to see numerous baby animals in Botswana’s game reserves, from playful zebras to adorable adolescent antelopes. On Anja’s most recent trip, she even got to see teenage lion clubs! New life also signals a host of new predators. As is the ‘circle of life’, it’s not unusual to witness lions, cheetahs and wild dogs circling the vulnerable young in the hopes of securing their next meal.
2Birders will have a lot to look forward to
Botswana is well-known for its impressive birdlife with over 400 bird species soaring across its skies during this season. Between October and March, many birds migrate from Asia, Europe and other areas of Africa to Botswana’s lush grasslands to nest and breed. Colorful kingfishers, swooping kites and noisy cuckoos can be glimpsed all along the meandering Chobe River. Other locations where you can expect a bounty of birdlife include the immense plains of the Okavango Delta and the wild wetlands of Savuti and Linyanti.
3The scenery is vibrant and green
After a prolonged dry spell, the life-giving rains during the green season open up the cracked earth. Suddenly, the landscape transforms into a lush paradise of different shades of green, with the occasional rainbow streaking across the clear blue African sky. As well as being a treat for the eyes and your camera lens, it’s great news for Botswana’s wildlife.
Although the rain can be heavy at times, it’s usually short-lived. The sky clears up soon enough and the magical light amplifies the experience further. As Anja explains: “It only rained twice: once at night and the other time we were in a mokoro. We saw the clouds glide over the delta and it was the most amazing sight.”
Our experts will always make sure you’re safe during your trip, regardless of the weather. Set off on game drives in closed-top vehicles with plenty of windows for viewing. On the odd occasion you get stuck in the mud, guides are well-equipped to pull vehicles out – an experience Anja claims is not as distressing as it sounds.
“Due to the rains many roads are muddy and vehicles can easily get stuck. But guides have such a good routine in pulling each other out of the mud, that it appears as an exciting adventure for guests. It sometimes only takes ten minutes to connect the rope, pull the other vehicle and then remove the rope again. So it does not take too long, really.”
From fierce lions to majestic elephants, here are some pictures that Anja captured during her trip to Botswana.
4You’ll find fewer crowds to contend with
While the peak season for Botswana safaris may be dry and less humid, it’s also usually much more crowded and expensive. This can make it trickier to find a guide, and you’ll likely find yourself jostling for a good view of the action at the country’s more popular game reserves.
By contrast, booking during the green season allows for a much more exclusive safari vacation. Quieter parks, fantastic wildlife sightings and better availability of seasoned safari guides are just the beginning. Our experts can also help you plan a getaway during the green season that’s personalized to your needs.
“All the guides are super knowledgeable and motivated,” Anja says. “They always make sure you see what you are interested in and that you are safe and comfortable. Your guide will make sure you have blankets and raincoats on the vehicle, your favorite drink in the coolbox and the best light for your photos.”
5You’ll enjoy great value for money at camps and lodges
Going on safari and staying amid the surreal wilderness has to be one of the best things to do in Botswana. Some of the country’s lodges offer fantastic off-season rates, allowing you to elevate your safari experience, while providing great value.
Stay in one of Botswana’s best luxury safari camps for less by visiting during the green season. You can relax in luxurious tents in the Moremi Game Reserve at Chief’s Camp or venture to Shinde Camp in the pristine Okavango Delta – one of Africa’s top safari destinations. Shinde Camp was one of a handful of lodges Anja stayed in on her recent trip and she particularly loved the panoramic views from its private verandahs. She adds that most of the camps have been refurbished in the last two years, and guests can discover some new ones such as Kiri Camp and Kala Camp.
Prefer a more intimate experience? You won’t be disappointed. “All the camps have a limited number of tents,” Anja tells us. “This makes the whole experience very private and exclusive.”
Why limit your safari experience to the dry winter months? Glorious landscapes, newborn wildlife, affordable accommodation and fewer crowds all make the green season a perfect time to book a Botswana vacation. Chat with us today about planning your dream safari trip in this truly enchanting corner of Southern Africa.
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